Eilean Shona is a wilderness island situated to the north of the Ardnamurchan peninsular and south of the Isle of Skye just off the West Coast of Scotland. With its ancient forests, craggy hillsides, hidden coves, sandy beaches and rich wildlife it is considered by many to be one of the most glorious of all the Hebridean islands.

Owned by Vanessa Branson, a champion of the arts, Eilean Shona’s cultural activities play an important role in the islands identity alongside its focus of enriching its biodiversity.

The island is car-free and every effort is made to be plastic-free and carbon neutral. Electricity comes from a hydro-electric power station and water is sourced from the hills.

The island has long been an inspiration for artists and writers and to further build upon this legacy a residency opportunity is being offered in partnership with the Royal Society of Sculptors.

This month long residency on Eilean Shona is for one member of the Royal Society of Sculptors. During the residency the artist will have access to an abundant source of wood from the islands fallen trees and will be encouraged to reflect upon and respond to the natural environment for the full one month period.

The residency will run from 28 Feb until 27 Mar 2022 inclusively.

Accommodation will be provided plus a studio with north light overlooking Loch Moidart and Castle Tioram.

The successful artist will receive a £1,000 stipend and £500 towards travel costs.



Throughout the residency the winning artist will have access to a studio and will be introduced to the area by the island woodsman. The woodsman will also be able to offer guidance and support concerning use of tools such as chainsaws.

Accommodation is a one bedroomed woodman’s cottage for the one month period, the accommodation will be for the artist alone and guests will not be permitted.

The opportunity also includes an artist talk, the chance to contribute to the island’s permanent art collection and to contribute to the Eilean Shona blog. The artist will also be encouraged to document their progress for an Instagram takeover of the Royal Society of Sculptors account.

There is an expectation that the work will remain on the island.


Vanessa Branson

Vanessa Branson is a champion of global cultural and ecological initiatives and is frequently sought after as a keynote speaker and event chair. As the Founding President of the Marrakech Biennale, she created North Africa’s only trilingual arts festival – comprising visual art, literature and film programs featuring acclaimed international and Moroccan artists. In October 2014, Vanessa Branson was awarded the Royal distinction of Officer of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, a Royal honour is in recognition of the contribution she has made to the Moroccan cultural scene and, in particular, for her efforts in establishing Marrakech as a richly diverse and eclectic platform for the arts. Prior to this, between 1999 and 2004, she was co-founding curator with Prue O'Day of the Wonderful Fund Collection. Her other cultural projects have included the establishment and co-direction – along with Prue O’Day and Anatol Orient – of the Portobello Arts Festivals in 1987, 1988 and 1989. Active as an entrepreneur, she founded the Vanessa Devereux Gallery (1986–91) in London, where she showed a number of emerging artists including William Kentridge’s UK debut exhibition. In 2002, along with her business partner Howell James CBE, she developed an ancient crumbling palace in the centre of Marrakech into a beautiful boutique hotel - El Fenn. She owns and runs Eilean Shona, a tidal island on the west coast of Scotland at the entrance to Loch Moidart where J M Barrie wrote the screenplay for Peter Pan. She is a trustee of the British Moroccan Society and The Leilea Alaoui Foundation, as well as a trustee for Virgin Unite. Her memoir One Hundred Summers was published May 2020.

Laura Ford

Laura Ford studied at Bath Academy of Art between 1978-82 including a period at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York before joining the postgraduate sculpture course at Chelsea School of Art in London. While still a student, she participated in the 1983 survey exhibition, The Sculpture Show at The Serpentine and Hayward Galleries alongside artists including, Richard Wentworth, Tony Cragg, David Nash and many of her tutors. 27 years later she participated in The British Art Show 5 alongside a new array of British artists that included Phyllida Barlow, Jeremy Deller, Michael Landy and Susan Hiller, Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas. In 2005 she represented Wales in the Venice Biennale. Her work is represented in many public collections including; Tate, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Government Art Collection, Potteries Museum, National Museums and Gallery of Wales; Museum of Modern Art, University of Iowa; Arts Council of Great Britain; Contemporary Art Society; Unilever plc; Penguin Books; Oldham Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, The Meijier Gardens, Grand Rapids USA and The Gateway Foundation, St. Louis, as well as numerous private collections. Her sculptures are faithful representations of fantasy with sometimes bitter sweet and menacing qualities mixed with tenderness. She uses humour and an acute observation of the human condition to engage with wider social and political issues. Her work is intensely crafted but playful, and she has used a range of media to realise her work including, drawing, painting, performance, set design and has increasingly taken on the challenge of public art alongside museum and gallery shows. Photo credit: YU Qiao


The entry fee is £22.50


To complete this application, please provide the following:

  • Five images of recent work
  • A CV of no more than two pages long
  • A statement telling us how a residency on Eilean Shona might impact your practice (200 words)
  • A statement telling us how you might use the island context to inform your project (200 words)

The closing deadline for applications is 1 December 2021.

Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive feedback will not be given at this stage. Notification of all results will be sent by email on 17 December.


Closing Date1 December 2021
Winners announcement17 December 2021

This opportunity is subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

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